Onward Christian Soldiers

Here at Hargreaves Towers, many things too numerous to mention, clamour for attention in the day to day war of attrition we like to call “family”. When our children were young, they thought as we did – because we told them to and what we liked – they liked because we were their heroes. Those times have long passed and now, when being allowed to go out with them in public is a bonus (unless, of course, we are on our way to the cash machine) things are very different. One ongoing bone of contention is church worship. Last Sunday we had what is now termed an “animated discussion” about son’s failure to sing to a certain hymn. His reply – that he couldn’t see the point of repeating “16th century irrelevant phrases ” made me think a bit about Christian music.
I am a hymn fan. My wedding was full of ’em. That was in the days before weddings were full of Disney songs and Witney Houston. (Least favourite wedding opening. Bride entering to “Can you feel the love tonight?” from the Lion King. Bit of an awkward moment.) Yep,Fanny Crosby, HF Lyte and Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Chas Wesley. I love it. But. I’m kind of thinking that they work best in their context. I don’t mean we shouldn’t sing them. Just that they should be sung how they were written. I think Amazing Grace works better without a drum’n’bass track. And maybe “When I Survey” can live without a sixties style melody to “appeal to the young people”.

In the same way songs written by Tim Hughes or Matt Redman with a loud guitar riff needs to retain that. I’m never sure about singing these songs sort of toned down for an older audience. You know the kind of thing “Oh happy day! (cue drum cymbals – chink a chink,chink a chink) Happy Day (chink a chink) You washed my sins away! (ker chink!) Even someone like me who hasn’t jumped up vertically with both feet off the ground since Steve Coppell was scoring from outside the penalty box in 1976 appreciates that these songs work best played so that people can jump, clap, wave and all that jazz. Thinking that maybe we should mix and match a bit. Sing each others stuff generously as it was meant to be sung and put a bit of effort in. Its not all about you you know!

Random Thoughts

Back at work this week so unable to settle long enough to bless you with deep thoughts and insights so try and get by without the bedrock of my wisdom but think on these things.

1. Richard Dawkins is arranging to arrest the Pope. Leaving aside the deep moral and spiritual issues I feel Mr Dawkins will do better when he gets over his shyness and pushes himself forward more. Come on Mr Dawkins!

2. Hero of the week. The mother of a child with Downs Syndrome who stood up to Frankie Boyle. Find out more here. I understand that a comic who bases his act in being edgier than the edgiest edgy thing will do stuff that makes you go ouch. However, in the debate about where the line is drawn – surely its a long way in front of kicking helpless children with a disability who can’t fight back. This just won’t do. In the olden days when I was a child we had a word for kids like Mr Boyle (no not that word – its a Christian based column and that’s not edifying) the word was bully. And although everyone was nice to the bully’s face – nobody really liked him. Mr Boyle may not care but that doesn’t make a difference. Don’t do it.

3. North/South Divide. There are lots of things the South does at least as well as the North. The weather helps of course etc. etc. but there are areas where they should never cross into each others areas of expertise and at the top of the page resplendent all its glory, is an example of one. The Steak Pudding. This may be called one but it isn’t one, if you know what I mean. Don’t do it. Leave it. Don’t try. Don’t dabble. Don’t pretend. No. No. No……………………………………………………………….No! Er No.

Turning over a new leaf

I know its been a long time but – well, I started a new job, significant other also started new job, have had heavy duty revision responsibilities with oldest fruit of womb, I’ve become a great auntie and have had Wayne Rooney’s ankle to worry about. So, no blog. Give me a break. At least I’ve taken the trouble to re-jig it. So will try harder.

Anyway, maybe, possibly, perhaps Spring has sprung (a bit) so time to get a line of washing out! If Cheryl Cole knew about the life I live ……

Saw an article this week about whats wrong with Christianity in the modern world. One of the suggestions to improve our profile was a high value conversion like Cheryl or the Beckhams or (close your eyes and imagine) Katie Price. Thing is, my old dad always says (actually might not be my dad but someone very much like him) that Christianity struggles when it gets popular. We apparently operate best when we are out of step with the majority and are not to be trusted with too much power. (Hmmm. Certain areas of Catholic Church anyone?) I spend half my life feeling out of step with…well virtually everything really. It is a great comfort to me therefore to know that this is because of my extraordinary level of spirituality and not because of early onset dementia. Here endeth today’s lesson.

PS I’ve added another blog to the list on the side. Chez Larsson is basically lots of pages about a Swedish woman cleaning out her cupboards but I love it. Which probably says a lot about my very high boredom threshold or equally high nosiness levels.

Cold isn’t It?

Still shivering and feeling on the verge of a cold that never quite happens. Have amused myself with the tele and t’Internet. Herewith is some of the stuff – Behold!

Read this if you dare. Its strong stuff and I sobbed like a baby afterwards. But maybe its something we all need to read. Link here to a strong account of child neglect and if you feel the need to come back and sign up to the NSPCC don’t fight it!! Just click on the donate by the logo below to take you through to the NSPCC site


Look its not important (especially if you read the link above) but I love Beaker. Don’t we all? And this makes me happy. Click here to feel Beaker love…

My thing with make up is that I like it but have no idea about it and my make up bag is packed to the drawstrings with expensive mistakes. So I do love E.L.F (eyes lips and face). The stuff is nice and a nice price. These nail varnishes are £1.50 at the moment. Last summer I took my daughter and four friends on a weekend away and on a rainy afternoon in a caravan I offered sanity saving manicures without having to use £11.00 bottles of varnish on the little darlings.

Channel 4s – The Bible A History has been very annoying so far I think. Most Christianity stuff on TV these days is so keen to be “right on” – its like there is nothing challenging to say. Anyone who has been a Christian for more than twenty minutes can usually write this stuff holding the pen in their teeth and whistling “Its the same old song” at the same time. However tonight’s episode, while I don’t agree with lots of it, is v v interesting for a change. Faith is a feminist issue???

Grumpy Old Luddite

Came across some puppy photos of complicated dog. Can it be that it was all so simple then?? Not so long ago we believed that all that was needed was some decent training and a firm hand then before you know it there’s tears at bedtime and a dog psychologist involved – I think we’ve all been there.

Some one said on the radio the other day that one of the things the advent of computers and email etc has brought is the loss of material, physical mementos. Hadn’t thought about it before but she might be right. I mean its nice to have all your photos logged carefully on your computer, taking up no space and all in alphabetical order etc. (At this point I am trying hard not to think of recent incident with daughter clicking on something that released horrific virus which corrupted half the stuff on our computer. What is wrong with these people who make up viruses? What for? Get a job or something!)Anyway – usually things are safely tucked away on the old hard drive but then I wonder. Will our kids ever know the joy of coming across an old shoe box and finding it full of photos of long forgotten holidays or baby’s first solid food or a time when I was impossibly thin and attractive (not overloaded in the last category but you get the idea)
It will seem as far in the distant past as rickets soon. My kids have no idea what you are talking about when you tell them about the sticker that used to come back on the photos saying “Quality Control” because you had taken the bloomin thing with your thumb over the lens. Nope, now all photos that do not reproduce the subject perfectly are deleted before they see the light of day.
Then there is email. I love email. I do. I use it all day at work. But is it the same as a card or a note? My bible is full of scraps of paper, cards and letters that people have sent me over the years. Little bits of encouragement – scriptures, poems, prophesy. maybe its just me but can’t remember the last time I printed up an email that had that sort of stuff in. And please don’t get me going about people posting “love ya loads darlin” on Facebook. Its not the same thing at all. OK?
I remember reading that Adrian Plass kept a record of all the various prayers for various people in long brown envelopes, then he could look back and see what things God had done.
I used to take notes in sermons so I could remember things. Haven’t done that for ages. Not since some woman preacher informed us that all serious Christians should be taking notes of what she had to say. My notebook goes straight back in my bag then unfortunately. Go and find someone else to boss around sweetheart. She wasn’t as good as she thought she was anyway I seem to remember.
Then there is the bible. My bible when I was a teenager is full of scribbles and notes and lines joining bits to other bits. I don’t pretend to understand it after all these years but it is great to look at it and feel the rush of how exciting it all was.
Maybe we are meant to be a bit more “physical” about things. Send letters, write cards, read books, take notes etc. Seem to have a vague recollection of CS Lewis saying that he prayed better on his knees because he was a physical creature and the physical act of worship reflected well on his spiritual life.Makes sense.
Thinking about getting a pencil to go in my bible. See if it helps.

Things I have learned this week..

Calvin and Hobbes is as fresh today as the first time I read it. It may well be God’s gift to a jaded world.

I am struggling to learn very deep and meaningful things. You maybe need to read Plato or something for that.